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caption: Jason Toft prepares to enter the water off downtown Seattle to survey juvenile salmon.
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Jason Toft prepares to enter the water off downtown Seattle to survey juvenile salmon.
Credit: Matt Martin/KUOW

Salmon and the city

How a destructive earthquake opened up a surprising opportunity to do something good for one of the pacific northwest’s most important creatures, salmon.

Remember back to March 2020, reports of nature coming back into our cities during lockdown. Wildlife filling the empty space humans had left behind. Mobs of monkeys in Thailand fighting over food in the streets, no tourists there to feed them. In Southern India, a herd of elephants took over a road usually filled with traffic.

Right here at home, I noticed birds seemed to be singing more loudly or maybe I could just hear them now. Lockdown was a hard time for all of us but seeing all these reports gave me just a little bit of joy. It confirmed to me something I’ve long believed. That if we just give nature half a chance, it’ll come back with force. Life is resilient. I think that last year has proven that.

caption: A group of juvenile salmon swim along the seawall in Seattle.
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A group of juvenile salmon swim along the seawall in Seattle.
Credit: Jason Toft/University of Washington

But what would happen if we didn’t just get out of nature’s way? What if we actively helped wildlife thrive in our cities all the time?

In this episode, Matt uncovers what one city has done. How they redesigned their built environment to benefit not just humans but wildlife too. . And how it was all made possible by something quite unexpected…..the rumbling force of a destructive earthquake.

THE WILD is a production of KUOW in Seattle in partnership with Chris Morgan and Wildlife Media. It is produced by Matt Martin and edited by Jim Gates. It is hosted, produced and written by Chris Morgan. Fact checking by Apryle Craig. Our theme music is by Michael Parker.